A blue wave swept across the grasslands once more.
The Conservative Party won all trips between Manitoba’s eastern border and Alberta’s western boundary, including all of Saskatchewan’s constituencies with the exception of 11 in Monday’s federal election.
It’s not the total upheaval that conservatives saw in 2019, but Prime Minister Scott Moe, speaking on Tuesday, still rejoiced at the outcome.
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“In what I saw in the result last night, 90 percent of Saskatchewan residents don’t want Justin Trudeau to be their prime minister,” he said, being careful to criticize the liberal leader for what he said was an unnecessary choice.
He began his short statement with an anecdote, or perhaps a joke, about how his nephew said he was not having a good birthday because Trudeau was still Prime Minister.
A political scientist at the University of Saskatchewan said the results were not a surprise, not even in the disputed Desnethé, Missinippi, Churchill River and Saskatoon West bypasses. But Daniel Westlake cautions that strong performance by conservatives does not necessarily mean support for conservative governments in the same region.
“If I were an Alberta Provincial Conservative, I’d be a lot more nervous than if I were an Alberta Federal Conservative right now. And the same for Saskatchewan, ”said Daniel Westlake.
Things look very different for the respective legislatures than in the House of Commons. Alberta Prime Minister Jason Kenney fired his Health Minister for a disastrous response to the fourth wave of COVID-19 on the same day that Moe used the birthday of a 10-year-old to hit Trudeau.
And Brian Pallister vacated the post of prime minister in Winnipeg after facing similar harsh criticism about the pandemic and other issues.
Frontline healthcare workers in Saskatchewan have criticized Moe for his responses to COVID.
Global News asked him about the dissonance between the federal election results and the political fortunes of his fellow prime ministers.
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“I’m not sure I understand the question precisely,” he said, before stating, “We had 14 conservative seats in this election. There were 14 conservative seats coming out. “
Westlake said districts and races affect whether political support overlaps.
Of the nearly dozen seats the Conservatives lost, all but one were urban and suburban and in major centers like Edmonton, Calgary and Winnipeg.
Conservatives generally don’t do well, or at least as well, in urban centers as they do in rural districts, Westlake noted.
And the fact that there are more of those districts in the most populated provinces provides more opportunities.
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But the main distinction Westlake makes is in the campaign. Party leaders at different levels talk about different topics.
“The opponents Erin O’Toole faces in Saskatchewan also have to win tours in Vancouver and Toronto and places that have very different points of view than the rest of the province,” he said.
A party leader who seeks the broad support necessary to win a plurality of seats at the federal level will (and did, in this case, lose) seats in specific areas because broader policies are not as attractive, Westlake explained.
He said the Saskatchewan NDP, or any provincial opposition party, can tailor its message to voters in a way that federal leaders cannot.
“If I were Scott Moe, I wouldn’t read too much on this,” he said.
“The reality is that provincial elections are different than federal elections, especially in the Prairies.”
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